Speaking at a Mass celebrating the work of the Legion of Mary, Fr Martin Pletts, St James’, Kinross said:
We’re blessed to have with us, this week, a group of men and women from the Legion of Mary, who hail from Ireland and England. Men and women who are sacrificing their resources, their time and their energies to bring the Gospel to the people of our area. They do this on a purely voluntary basis, motivated by their love for God, their desire to share God’s Truth, and their passion to bring this Good News to all people.
Stepping out and doing what most of us would probably find uncomfortable and challenging – knocking on doors, approaching people in the street – these good men and women, encouraged by a deep desire to pass on the Christian message that has impacted their own lives in such a profound way, are determined to share that Good News both with those who have heard it before and perhaps forgotten it, as well as with those for whom it may be something totally new and unknown.
I’m sure that I echo your own sentiments, when I say that I have the greatest admiration for them and what they have committed themselves to do here. But in saying this, I would like to add a caveat – what the Legionaries are doing shouldn’t be extraordinary. It should be the norm. The work of evangelization is the baptismal vocation of every Catholic, it should be our bread and butter, sharing Jesus Christ with everyone we know, everyone we meet, and not being timid or reticent about it. It’s not a question of forcing the Gospel down people’s throats, because we know that that can be totally off-putting, but rather a matter of being open about our Faith and belief, open about our love for Jesus and how He has changed our lives, and gently encouraging others to have a relationship with Him. And whilst it’s a blessing and a privilege to have the Legionaries with us this week, we honour the hard work that will be done for us by them, by keeping it going ourselves once they have headed back home – because the work of evangelization never stops, it is the ongoing mission of the Church, it’s our ongoing mission in this parish community.
The point of this Peregrinatio is not to establish a Legion of Mary Group, or Praesidium, in the parish – though, if God so wills, that would be a wonderful fruit to come from this week, and one that I would wholeheartedly support – but more than anything it’s for us to reach out, to reach out to the many who are hungry and thirsty to know the love of Jesus Christ in their lives… and so there needs to be some kind of follow-up and some kind of commitment so that this week doesn’t just end up as a one-off event that then becomes forgotten about. We have to take up the challenge and become an evangelizing community, however God desires that to be.
What will ensure the success of this week, and of future evangelization will be a foundation of prayer. Rooted in prayer our efforts, however imperfect they may be, will always bear rich fruit. Because in and through prayer God is the guarantor of success. If we seek His will, operate in His grace, and ask His guidance and blessing our efforts will never go wrong, in fact the opposite – all that we undertake will flourish and prosper.
So I’m asking you all, please, to make a commitment – to make a commitment to the work of evangelization in this community, and to make a commitment to prayer. Please pray every day this week for the success of this Peregrinatio, please pray that many souls will come to God or return to God through the efforts of the Legionaries and the contacts they make. And please pray and ask God’s guidance as to how we, as a worshipping community, can continue this work of evangelization into the future.
If you don’t normally come to weekday Mass make a special effort to do so this week, offer your Rosaries for the success of this work, come to Adoration and ask God to bless what is happening, remember this team in your daily prayers, fast or offer up some kind of penance if you can, and think of how you might generously sacrifice your time, energies and resources too, to support the Legionaries and their work this week. Thank you to all who are already helping in so many ways, God will undoubtedly bless you abundantly for this… And please, all of you, join us this coming Friday for Holy Mass at 7pm., a Mass to which all the people contacted will receive an invitation, and then for the parish barbecue and social which will follow on from Mass – a way of us expressing our thanks to the Legion Team for their hard work.
And let us commend this week’s work and our further work of evangelization to the guidance and protection of Our Blessed Lady under whose maternal banner we all operate as sisters and brothers of the Lord:
Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thine intercession was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence we fly unto thee O Virgin of Virgins, our Mother. To thee do we come, before Thee we stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word incarnate, despite not our petitions, but in your mercy hear and answer us. Amen.